The Alliance for Suicide Prevention is based on the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) model recognised as the world’s best practice for the care of people with depression and in the prevention of suicide. An initial trial region of Nuremberg resulted in a 24% reduction of suicidal acts within two years.

4-level Strategy to Suicide Prevention

  • Co-operation with general practitioners from primary care as well as mental health professionals from specialised care
  • Public relation activities: Education of the broad public by a depression awareness campaign
  • Co-operation with community facilitators and stakeholders
  • Support for patients, high-risk groups and their relatives
How is it adaptable to Australia?
The EAAD was trialled and founded in Germany. Since 2008, EAAD has coordinated further rollout of this framework throughout Europe and countries abroad. The EAAD is now being implemented outside of Germany including in Canada, Chile, Italy, Netherlands, Hungary and the United Kingdom.

The Alliance for Suicide Prevention is implementing the EAAD framework on the Sunshine Coast in consultation and collaboration with the community. This will require a tailored response to suit the local community.

Are all four elements required to be implemented?
Professor Dr. Ulrich Hegerl (President, EAAD) suggests that the combination of integrating these four pillars within a community is the most effective way to reduce suicidality. Many benefits can be expected from this approach.

To provide activity and interventions within all four categories will require the Alliance to engage with stakeholders across the community, including primary care, community-based services, local leaders, media, consumers and carers.

Why a focus on depression?
Depression is a high prevalence, at times severe, and often life-threatening mental health disorder. It affects the lives of many Australians every day. It is often associated with deep suffering and can be an enormous burden to those affected. There are different types of depressive disorders with symptoms ranging from relatively minor (yet still disabling) through to severe.

Many people at times can experience loss, heartache, and sadness, which is momentary and not permanently debilitating. It is when these feelings of intense hopelessness last for many days and affect regular functioning that a person can develop diagnosed depression.

The close link between suicidal behaviour and depression is well documented. Research from the American Association of Sociology suggests the risk of suicide is as high as 15 per cent among patients with severe and recurrent depressive disorders. Therefore, a renewed focus on preventative actions to improve the care and treatment for people dealing with depression is required. This holistic approach can result in a reduction of suicide at a whole of population level.

USC’s Thompson Institute

USC’s Thompson Institute is a hub for world-class mental health research, teaching and clinical services. The work conducted at the Thompson Institute is focused around four central themes:

  1. Provision of clinical services
  2. Advocacy for patients and their carers
  3. Conducting ground breaking translation research
  4. Education and teaching

Opening in 2018, it has built a reputation for using a unique, integrated model of care, which has put it at the forefront of research for some of regional Australia’s most pressing mental health issues, including dementia, suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress disorder, and youth mental health.